Video is the name of the game for YouTube, which has become wildly popular in its eight-year existence. People all over the world combine for billions of views each day – making YouTube one of the most high-traffic sites on the internet. The video sharing site has become an important element of Google, which acquired YouTube back in 2006. But where does YouTube – and video as a medium – fit into the social sphere?
Money and momentum
YouTube came from humble beginnings. The three cofounders registered the domain name in February 2005 and a 19-second clip titled “Me at the Zoo” became the first video on the site that April. Nike was one of the first companies to sense the site’s appeal and had a soccer video about Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho go viral that October. YouTube officially debuted that December and four months later venture capital firm Sequoia Capital injected some $8 million in funding; five months later Google acquired the site for $1.65 billion.
Today YouTube is the undisputed king of video, and the world’s appetite for the media – whether on desktops, laptops or smartphones – is insatiable. Some 800 million unique visitors come to the site each month and some 72 hours of video are uploaded to the site each minute. And YouTube is tightly integrated into Google’s large swath of products. For example, when you sign in to your Google+ account, you see a YouTube tab at the top of your screen that allows you to visit your personalized home page in one click.
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Personal and business branding
With literally billions of videos from which to choose, YouTube is a vast landscape that you can customize according to your interests. (And the network uses all kinds of data to suggest videos that you’ll want to watch.)
Smart marketers know how to optimize their videos for maximum visibility and impact to their audience. Best practices involve things like properly crafting a video title and description, selecting an appropriate category and tags, and keeping video length in mind. This month, YouTube announced a new channel design with features that include a channel trailer to talk to users who aren’t yet subscribed to your channel and branded banner images that sit at the top of your channel.
Videos such as Gangnam Style (somewhere north of 1 billion views) illustrate the viral potential of YouTube. As more people worldwide continue to access video on their smartphones, the demand for streaming media figures to remain high. And YouTube certainly has its share of advertisers looking to get in front of all those eyeballs.
Facebook and Google+ are now duking it out as the top pair of social heavyweights, but YouTube and Twitter both remain legitimate players. YouTube says it’s adding millions of subscriptions each day and that the network is localized in 53 countries – certainly nothing to sneeze at.
So, what do you think of YouTube’s future prospects for success? Do you feel that Google is smart in how it’s integrating YouTube into its other products? Is Google putting too much emphasis on Google+ at the expense of other properties like YouTube? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
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